by Peter Boer
Peter Schiefke, a second-year
political science student, was sitting in his room one night last December
watching CNN coverage of the war in Afghanistan. A correspondent was interviewing
a woman who told the reporter about how she was afraid to go to sleep
at night for fear that she might end up dead, and how she would not send
her kids to school because they might be killed. As he watched, an idea
began to form.
I started thinking that we live in such an incredible country,
Schiefke explained. People have fought and died to save the way
we live today.
The result of that one night is the We Will Always Remember campaign,
a project designed to commemorate Canadas efforts in both World
Wars, as well as the Korean War. As part of the program, 52 sections of
the largest replica of a Canadian flag ever assembled will be distributed
to high schools and universities across Canada, where students will be
able to sign them.
On Nov. 10, all of the signed sections will be transported to Ottawa,
where a 144-foot-by-72-foot flag will be assembled on the West Lawn of
Parliament Hill as part of Canadas Remembrance Day activities.
The response at Concordia during the signing, which took place from Oct.
28 to 30, said Schiefke, has been amazing.
We probably had a couple of hundred people come sign on the first
day, which is incredible, he said. Its a lot more than
I was expecting. Its great to see that students still care about
Remembrance Day. Schiefke also happens to be VP external for the
Political Science Students Association, but he organized this project
on his own with a few friends and classmates.
The signing at Concordias Hall Building was attended on all three
days by Arthur Fraser, a World War Two veteran and member of the Canadian
Legion. Fraser, who was one of the lucky few to return from the failed
Allied raid on the port of Dieppe in August 1942, said that activities
such as We Will Always Remember help Canadians to remember those who died.
When I was working, I was always able to keep my mind on my work,
Fraser explained. Now that Im retired, the memories of the
war are quite clear. Its important to remember, to never forget
what happened during the war.
Tara Warnach, a Concordia sociology student, stopped to sign the flag
Wednesday morning. She agrees with Fraser that it is important to remember
the sacrifices that others made more than 50 years ago.
I saw the flag, and I thought that I should stop by and sign it,
she said. I think its still important to remember those people
who died for our freedom.
Maria Peluso, a faculty member in the Department of Political Science,
also took time to sign Concordias section of the flag. Activities
such as We Will Always Remember are still important to Canadians, she
said, and the federal government should consider acting on that sentiment.
In fact, I dont understand why we dont have a national
holiday as a day of remembrance in honour of our veterans, Peluso
said. Ive actually petitioned the Governor-General to do just